I’ve had a stammer for as long as I can remember. Actually I can’t remember not having one. It was one of the reasons why I never liked reading out loud, never liked answering the phone and never liked ordering food. I would rather starve than order a McDonald’s. I always had someone do it for me or else I wouldn’t do it at all. I avoided speaking situations as much as I could.
I was always shy when I was younger or at least, that is what people thought. The reason for this was my speech. For those who have a stammer since they a young age, we dreaded school because it was where we did most of our speaking. I never liked doing homework but I always had it done and brought it in on time no matter what. This was one of my methods of avoiding speaking, as the teacher couldn’t confront me in front of the whole class to ask why I had not done my homework and I would not have to sit there knowing I could not tell her why.
I wasn’t shy at home. I still had a stammer at home but it didn’t stop me from talking at home the way it stopped me outside. Some people feel that a stammer is something associated with our nerves. But for me it wasn’t. Nerves had nothing to do with my stammer. It was more of a physiological thing. I couldn’t speak because I knew I wouldn’t be able to. Well that’s what I thought because I just froze when I tried to speak and nothing came out. I even stammered in my dreams.
There were words that caught me out. Other children were afraid of The Bogeyman and vampires and ghosts. I was afraid of the letter ‘s’. Some people would often say to me ”Emma how can you say a whole line of sentences and not say a simple short word?” I felt stupid because I couldn’t do the things that everyone else could do. Even simple things like saying my name. For a person with a stammer that is the hardest thing.
I had tried everything to get rid of my stammer, even hypnotherapy but nothing had any impact on me until I discovered the McGuire Programme. I first heard about it on the Late Late Show and decided it was my last shot to become a fluent speaker. I went on the McGuire programme in February 2007.
Now, I am nine months on the programme and I have witnessed miracles in myself and in others. It doesn’t just come overnight but believe me it happens and great friends are made in the process. I am sixteen-years-old and I was lucky enough to do something about it while I am still young. If you have a stammer, I would strongly recommend this programme. Give yourself a voice. You deserve one.